I RECENTLY attended a Three Towns Partnership board meeting in the Civic Centre at Crook. Durham's Police and Crime Commissioner Ron Hogg told us of his proposed 13.24 per cent increase in the police precept.

After I disagreed with this level of increase, it soon became apparent that the Labour councillors would accept any rise proposed because there is a Labour commissioner holding the post.

The people in this area would be better served with more independent councillors, I am certain of that.

Trevor Burn, Crook

I READ in disbelief Police and Crime Commissioner Ron Hogg’s views (Echo, Jan 10) about the proposed rise in the police precept.

Comparing the costs of his office against the old cost of running with a police authority is disingenuous: one person replacing a committee is bound to create a cost reduction. The statement that the commissioner's role enhances the voice of the community is not true because previously the committee represented all areas covered by the force.

The Government has reduced the police grant year after year. The crime commissioners have increased the pressure on household budgets while shedding crocodile tears. The pressure on household budgets is increasing year after year with below inflation pay rises, increased fuel, food, transport costs and more families living in poverty.

The double figures increase in the police precept is not acceptable. The commissioners have gone native. They are masking the austerity cuts and pushing families into wage poverty.

The commissioners themselves receive double the national wage in salary. It is time for a reality check. If not the public must use the ballot box to stop the additional taxes.

R Pitt, Middlesbrough